Georg Niedermeier says Melbourne Victory never lost confidence as he talked up the importance of Saturday’s clash against Sydney FC.
Victory made it back-to-back wins in the Hyundai A-League by beating leader Perth Glory 2-0 at HBF Park last time out.
That result brought the Premier’s Plate race back to life as the reigning champion moved within seven points of top spot, while it sits one adrift of Sydney with four regular-season games remaining.
Niedermeier, back to full fitness after enduring multiple injury concerns earlier in the season, said Victory never doubted its abilities.
“We were never off confidence to become champions,” he told a news conference on Thursday.
“But we wanted to make a statement (in Perth) and I think we did that in a remarkable way.”
Victory makes the trip to the SCG in Round 24 for what is a vital clash between second and third.
It also bids to make history, eyeing a sweep of wins over Sydney in a season for the first time.
“We won the last two games against them,” Niedermeier said. “It’s the ‘Big Blue’, it’s always an important game.
“They’re sitting one point ahead of us so we know what’s coming up.
“They want to turn us over and make a better result, so we have to put everything again in it and take another third win to get them in the ladder and hopefully then we can keep second place.”
Having spent his entire professional career in Germany prior to his move to Victory last year, Niedermeier is set to feature in a Finals Series for the first time.
But the 33-year-old centre-back’s focus is firstly on finishing the regular season strongly.
“It’s in the back of my mind. First of all I want to finish the league, then I see that as an extra but it’s very interesting to have this coming up,” Niedermeier said.
“Now you’re talking about if you finish first, if you finish second, what that matters in the finals but first of all I’m thinking to the next game, that’s always the most important.
“You prepare the whole week for it, at the moment I’m preparing for the ‘Big Blue’ which is going to be massive and I hope we can make our fans proud in that special moment and in the moments after we will see what happens.”